Saiho-ji Temple (Ukyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City) (西方寺 (京都市右京区))

Saiho-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to Jodo (Pure Land) Sect located in Tokiwadeguchi-cho, Ukyo-ku Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Its sango (literally, "mountain name"), which is the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple is Nyuhozan (Mt. Nyuho). The principal image is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata). The kaiki (founding patron) was Yoritsuna UTSUNOMIYA.

Origin and History

Saiho-ji Temple began as a Nenbutsu-do hall named Saiho-ji Temple built in 1259 within the precinct of an existing temple (thought to be Saimyo-ji Temple) by Yoritsuna UTSUNOMIYA (also known as Jisshinbo Renjo), the fifth head of the Utsunomiya clan who became devoted to Honen and entered into Buddhist priesthood. Yoritsuna UTSUNOMIYA was a low-ranking vassal in the service of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) who resided at Utsunomiya-jo Castle in the Kanto region but after becoming involved in a political dispute with the Hojo clan and falling under suspicion of plotting a rebellion, he entered the Buddhist priesthood on the recommendation of Naozane KUMAGAI (also known as Kumagai Rensei Hoshi), who himself was led to became a follower of Buddhism by Honen, and secluded himself in Kyoto. While in Kyoto, he became close friends with FUJIWARA no Sadaie and allowed his daughter to marry Sadaie's eldest son FUJIWARA no Tameie.

It is said that the foundation of the destroyed Ninna-ji Temple was relocated to the site of this temple during the Onin War.

August 1017: Imperial Prince Atsuakira resigns from his position as crown prince to live a secluded life in the area under the name Koichijoin.

1269: The Nenbutsu-do hall established by Yoritsuna UTSUNOMIYA (Jisshinbo Rensei) is named Saiho-ji Temple.

1467: The buildings of Ninna-ji Temple in Omuro are completely destroyed during the Onin War and the temple foundation was relocated to the area.

1634: Temple foundation relocated during the reconstruction of Ninna-ji Temple.

1940: Nara period earthenware artifacts and Heian-Kamakura period roof tiles unearthed.

2007: Sanmon gate completed.


By Bus
From the north exit of JR West Kyoto Station

Take the Kyoto City Transportation Bureau number 75 bus for Yamagoe Nakacho for 35-40 minutes, alight at 'Uzumasa Eigamura-michi' and walk for 3 minutes.

On Foot

From Tokiwa Station on the Keifuku Electric Railroad Kitano Line

Walk for 15 minutes

From Uzumasa Station on the Keifuku Electric Railroad Arashiyama Line

Walk for 15 minutes

[Original Japanese]